• Kyodo

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An 11-year-old boy unearthed a fragment of rare fifth century stoneware last month in Kamigori, Hyogo Prefecture, the prefectural education board said Thursday.

Masahiro Fukazawa, in the sixth grade at Yamanosato Elementary School, dug up the “sue ware” fragment during a practical excavation program July 5 at the Chikumamiyanomae ruins.

Education officials said he was surprised to learn it was a rare artifact.

The fragment came from a piece of sue ware decorated with carvings in a semicircular pattern. Several similar fragments have been found in Japan, but the latest is thought to be among the oldest.

Education board officials believe the stoneware was produced in Japan but may have been manufactured by Korean immigrants.

These immigrants introduced the craft to Japan during the fifth and sixth centuries.

Fukazawa discovered the fragment, which is about 11 cm long and about 7 cm wide, around 20 cm below ground level.

Another fragment, about 5 cm long and 3 cm wide and probably part of the same piece, was found by an excavation worker on July 10, the officials added.

The semicircular pattern featured on the piece is believed to have originated on the Korean Peninsula during the fourth century.

Shuichi Kameda, a professor of archaeology at the Okayama University of Science, said, “It is a precious find to indicate the existence of ancient exchanges between that region and the Korean Peninsula.”

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